Egyptian authorities have arrested a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood group who played a key role in negotiations between the government and the now-banned Islamist organization, security officials told The Associated Press (AP). Mohammed Ali Bishr, 63, was arrested from his home on suspicion of being linked to a call for demonstrations.
The demonstrations were reportedly called by the Salafi group, and not the Muslim Brotherhood, AP reported. Egypt's government has already arrested several people from the group since the ouster, in July 2013, of Mohammed Morsi, who is currently detained, along with several others, on various charges. Prosecutors on Wednesday also asked for a death sentence for Morsi, Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group, and several others, on espionage charges, according to AP.
The 71-year-old Badie was charged, in September, of attacking a police station last year in the southern city of Minya, about 150 miles from Cairo. Last week, at least 43 people were arrested by Egyptian police for holding a rally against what they called were regressive laws established by the military-backed government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
In October, Egypt began allowing military courts to try civilians accused of damaging state facilities, despite opposition to the law being applied to crimes committed before October. In August, a court in Minya handed down death sentences to 682 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite several countries, including the U.S., and international groups, urging Egypt to overturn the decision.
The ongoing crackdown against Muslim Brotherhood supporters began last year and, since Morsi’s ouster, about 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown against the group. The state has also jailed activists who led the 2011 uprising against former leader Hosni Mubarak.